Sunday, 10th October, 2021

[Day 573]

Today being Sunday, I walk down on my own to collect our Sunday Times and be back in time for the Andrew Marr show – both of these are fixed points in the week. When I was with the newsagent we chatted for a little about cars and he told me that several decades ago he owned a Jaguar XJ6 and used to journey from Birmingham to Manchester in one. I indicated that I did have a secret yearning for one but all you have to is to mention ‘supermarket carpark’ followed by ‘automatic’ to put one off for life. I did mention in my conversation that I used to live in the Rusholme area of Manchester (about 1-2 miles along from the University along the Wilmslow Road) and when we lived there in the mid 1960’s it was about 90% Irish – now with the ecological processes of invasion and succession (terms learnt from my urban sociology course, also in the 1960’s) it was 90% Asian and had become the curry capital of the region. This is so much the case that one occasion a filmcrew was taking street shots of the area and our flat (a modern flat built on top of some shops – quite a common pattern in the 1960’s) was caught in the camera panning shot. After Meg and I got ready slowly, we walked down to the park where a lively session of the Bromsgrove Literary and Philosophical Society ensued. Our discussions ranged over the success of the local football and rugby teams (both doing quite well) to the exact location of Beijing on a map (which for some reason had recently taxed the minds of some of us) Before we set off for our walk, I ventured onto our communal green area to see how our apple trees are faring. Several years, I planted some young trees from Aldi (bought for about £1.50) and these are now bearing fruit in abundance. One of the trees was so laden with fruit that the branch bearing the fruit had actually split under the weight. To the best of my memory, the variety of apple if ‘Jonathan’ which is a classic American variety, apparently. I picked about three or four of these so that I could taste one and give the others away to friends in the park (although I didn’t get many takers, bar one) The apples are small,very crisp (not like your mushy Golden Delicious) and with quite a sharp, semi-sweet flavour. Now that I know that they are in good condition for picking, I am going to leave it literally for a day or so and then avail myself of some ‘fruit trays’ in which I can store them. I generally try to ‘acquire’ some of these from my local Asda and ensure that the apples are not washed but are polished and stored so that they do not touch each other. Then if they are inspected regularly I choose the best of the bunch for the task in hand (eating apples, making into apple sauce, apple puree or what have you) and any that are going ‘off’can be quickly thrown away without infecting the rest. Mind you, I do have to be careful where they are stored because in the past the local mice have sometimes said ‘Thank you very much‘ and taken random nibbles, so I learn from experience. I have some cookers in Mog’s Den which are much larger but undoubtedly cookers and not eaters but I think these can be left on the tree for a week or so longer yet. One wants to get the crop picked before an autumn gale sends them all crashing to the ground.

Meg and I had a rare treat today which was a little piece of sirloin complemented by a glass of red wine. We have started to eat again in our kitchen instead of on our knees which was a COVID inspired measure but which is no longer necessary. We have enjoyed a good old read of the Sunday newspapers today after our lunch and are settling down to an evening of TV programmes very much to our taste.

The latest COVID news warning today is that COVID-19 and flu are co-circulating this year for the first time and those who catch both are twice as likely to die, early evidence suggests, amid fears of a ‘twindemic’. I must admit I am pleased to have got the booster jab behind me last week – I took a photo of the cards issued to Meg and myself so that I have a record of it on my iPhone. When I was younger, I seemed to get ‘flu every year and assumed it was just part of the normal ‘winter’ cycle but as things stand at the moment, I cannot remember the last time I was afflicted. Of course it could be that last year all of the precautions that we took against COVID protected us again ‘flu viruses as well but now we have all got a bit too complacent, then we might have to learn to be streetwise (and carry on wearing our masks – which we do every time we encounter a crowd e.g. inside any of the local shops)